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Trader Joe’s Vintage Ale 2011



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RATINGS: 150   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.57   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%
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Unique and limited edition, this Belgian style ale is crafted once a year as a special treat for those of you who appreciate flavorful, bottle-conditioned ale with character. This year’s vintage: a rich, dark and full-bodied ale with a fine and generous coffee-colored, beige foam. It’s ready to enjoy right away and you may also wish to cellar a few bottles. It will evolve interestingly well, developing more complex flavors as the years go by. Keep the bottle upright in storage. Brewed with a delicate balance of noble hops, roasted malts and spices, this is a remarkably smooth ale with a wonderfully complex finish. It is best served slightly shilled, around 53 degrees Fahrenheit and pairs exceptionally well with grilled salmon steaks, curried lamb, beef or tuna au poivre. Crafted and bottled exclusively for Trader Joe’s

Mhyzdu's rating

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Mhyzdu (11) - - JAN 14, 2012
Ok. A little bitty for my taste. .................................................. via Beer Buddy for iPhone

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
chinchill (2558) - South Carolina, USA - JAN 23, 2015
750 ml cork & wire bottle. "Best before" July 2016 date on bottle. "Unibroue" stamped on the cork and cap ... a sufficient reason for me to buy this annually. A crescent wrench worked nicely to unseal and help remove the firmly seated cork. Pours opaque, dark ruby-dark brown with a moderate size, foamy cappuccino-colored head that has excellent retention and leaves decent lacing. I note that I can repeat a portion of my review of the 2010 version: "The aroma and the flavor both clearly indicate that this is a spiced ale. The exact combination of spices is unclear, but nutmeg and allspice seem most obvious, with hints of clove, ginger and cinnamon. ... the beer is a bit over-spiced [nutmeg or similar] for my taste. ... some raisin, prune and other dark fruit notes are evident." The complex aroma correctly suggests that the the beer is lightly sweet. High ABV is decently hidden in both taste and smell. M: smooth; very good, medium carbonation; high ABV mostly hidden excepting some warming and a light tongue bite. O: A fine winter brew, with plenty of spicy complexity to enjoy in both the flavor and lingering aftertaste, and at a good price for a 750ml Unibroue.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 11/20
ineedbeer (974) - Oakland, California, USA - DEC 8, 2014
Poured from a bottle. Aroma is fairly spicy with ginger, allspice, anise. Some notes of lemongrass and clove as well. Medium light toasted malt notes with hints of roast, chocolate and toffee. Light fruit notes of raisins and prunes. A touch of alcohol. Big pop upon opening, but no geyser. Pours a very dark brown with hits of burnt amber and a big, moderately thick, dark tan head that slowly, but steadily recedes to a thin film that lingers. Light lacing and moderate legs. Flavor is slightly to moderately sweet. Some toffee and caramel with toasted bread and light roast with hints of chocolate. A weird note in the finish that reminds me of those Haribo Cola Gummy candies. Not as much spice as in the aroma, but some sarsaparilla, ginger and anise. Medium bitterness, a bit harsh and grassy. Light alcohol notes. Hints of raisins and prunes. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a touch watery with medium high carbonation. Medium low astringency and low alcohol warmth. Overall, an odd beer. The aroma is alright, but the flavor is totally different than the aroma and tastes like a mix between a cola flavored gummy and an herbal mouth lozenge. It tastes a bit better than that sounds like it would. Far from full bodied.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
slowrunner77 (6336) - Reno, Nevada, USA - SEP 27, 2014
this is just a nice deal at $5! nicely spiced, with a dry finishing belgian champagne like yeast strain. cocoa, dark fruit, aroma a little "dusty, but still very nice. abv hidden very well though the carbonation as always is a little much."

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Banksiz (46) - Sacramento, California, USA - MAR 21, 2014
Aged for two years in my basement. Malty-caramel with some clove and spice and a hint of strawberry. Sweetish balanced by a slight bitterness-sourness. Full body, pleasant bittersweet finish. A great brew and outstanding for the price!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
skoisirius (1818) - Earth, Washington, USA - FEB 14, 2014
750ml bottle. Not sure why this gets different years for each vintage as I don’t believe the brew changes from year to year. That said, I’m copying and pasting this to each vintage I’ve had due to this factor. Beyond that, every year this comes out it’s worth picking up a bottle. It’s a great dark fruited and spiced out Belgian style, something like a dubbel, yet stronger. Can’t beat it for the price!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
drowland (6579) - Georgia, USA - JAN 4, 2014
12/25/13. Merry Christmas! 750mL bottle shared graciously by my brother Calvin. Amber brown pour with a nice khaki head. Very fruity, almost citrusy, on the aroma, some deep caramels and dark fruits. Fruity flavor as well, plenty of esters, bready, dark fruits, almost fruit loops in a way, malty. Tasty.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
bluejacket74 (1466) - Reynoldsburg, Ohio, USA - DEC 13, 2013
750 ml caged and corked bottle, best before 07-06-2016. Had this bottle a couple years, hope it’s good now! Served in a Dogfish Head signature glass, the beer pours dark brown with an inch light tan head that sticked around for a while. There’s also a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like dark fruit (plums, raisins), cloves, peppery spice, and some molasses. It tastes like dark fruit (plums, raisins), peppery spice, cloves, dark bread, cola, molasses and brown sugar. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it’s a bit coating and creamy with a good amount of carbonation. I liked this brew, it’s sweet, spicy and enjoyable to drink.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
thome50 (1160) - Morro Bay via Orange County, California, USA - DEC 8, 2013
Bottle via George. Sampled next to a 2009. Pours a brown with tan head. Aroma is again very cola forward. Taste is slight cola, raisin, clove, slight oxidation (based on storage?) and some chocolate. This is less interesting and complex than the 2009.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Butters (3920) - Richmond, Virginia, USA - DEC 3, 2013
Corked and caged at the sunday after thanksgiving tasting 2013. I really have a hard time differentiating between the years. When tasted next to the 2008, this just tasted a bit fresher and less cardboardy. Also a little less sweet. Still drinks damn good though.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Glouglouburp (6104) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - NOV 7, 2013
In short: A spicy Belgian dark ale that doesn’t over do the spicy thing. Good beer.
How: Bottle 750ml, consumed exactly 3 years before expiration date. Not sure if I received this bottle from someone… Matt?
The look: Cloudy very dark brown body (near black) topped by a persistent small beige head.
In long: Nose is moderately spicy (cloves, various herbs) also with the typical Belgian dark ale fruity esters. As usual with Unibroue the mouthfeel is spot-on, full body and lively carbonation. Taste has nice fresh juicy dark fruits, notes of chocolate, liquefied caramel, some toffee, tree roots, a nice array of spices somewhat reminiscent of Christmas ales. Relatively low sweetness level for the style. I’m not a fan of spiced beer but this one has well integrated spices that do not overwhelmed the beer. An average Unibroue which is still a good beer. And I pronounce 2011 like “Twenty Eleven” and not “Two Thousand Eleven” because saying “Tonight I’m gonna party like it’s One Thousand Nine Hundred And Ninety Nine” just doesn’t sound as cool.

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